Cure / Importance of Research
Melanoma is a form of skin cancer which can result in significant morbidity and mortality.
- Melanoma is the most serious and lethal form of skin cancer.
- The lifetime risk of developing melanoma is 1 in 39.
- Melanoma is the only cancer for which incidence and mortality are rising unabated, yet receives less than 5% of the funding provided to other cancer research.
- 1.2 million new cases of skin cancer occur in the U.S. - more than all other new cases of breast, lung, colon and prostate combined.
- During the past 10 years, the number of cases of melanoma has increased more rapidly than that of any other cancer.
- 10,000 people in the U.S. died in 2006 from skin cancer of which 8,000 were melanoma.
- One person dies every hour in the U.S. from melanoma.
At present, there are few effective systemic therapies to treat advanced stages of melanoma due to a lack of understanding of the molecular basis for melanoma development and progression.
While there is a growing effort to understand the critical pathways involved in melanoma onset and progression, little progress has been made in the past two decades in the diagnosis or treatment of this fatal form of skin cancer.
Progress in melanoma diagnosis and treatment can only come from a greater molecular understanding of this disease.
- Research into the pathways involved in melanoma development and progression is critical to developing rational and targeted therapies for melanoma patients.
- A knowledge of the pathways involved in melanoma development and progression will permit development of more sensitive tests for better diagnosis and more accurate staging of patients with early disease.
- Tests will broaden the opportunity to identify patients who may benefit from therapy early on.
- With the sequencing of the human genome and the development of sophisticated micro-array "gene chip" technologies, scientists are on the brink of unraveling the molecular secrets that have eluded the melanoma research community until now.
Only through more research efforts in melanoma can there be hope to find a cure for this potentially lethal form of skin cancer.